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Jackson wins four straight to earn berth at provincials

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Kathie Jackson is hoping the third time’s the charm as she prepares for yet another trip to the all-Ontario ladies’ curling playdowns Jan. 26-Feb. 1 in Kenora.

At stake at the 10-rink field is a trip to the Scott Tournament of Hearts in Regina.

Playing at the provincial level is nothing new to Jackson, who earned a fourth-place finish in Brantford in 1990 and a seventh-place one in Nipigon in 1989 as a skip while curling out of Thunder Bay.

But she’ll be gunning for top honours at this year’s playdowns, which will feature another rink from Northwestern Ontario (former world champ Heather Houston), along with a pair from Northern Ontario and six from southern Ontario.

Jackson’s rink, which includes Kim Beaudry (third), Kelly Tolen (second), Anna Lindholm (lead), and Roz Broman (fifth), went 4-1 last weekend at the Northwestern playdowns in Keewatin to capture the six-team round-robin.

Houston also finished with a 4-1 record but Jackson was awarded first place by virtue of her 7-4 victory over the Fort William rink Friday morning.

The top two teams advanced to the provincials in Kenora.

Jackson pulled out the huge win over Houston by making a wide open takeout to score three in the 10th end with the hammer. It was a game that went back-and-forth, with both teams scoring just single points in each end, she noted.

She also said that gave her rink a big psychological lift.

“We hoped to get second spot but [the win over Houston] gave us a boost and everyone played well after that,” she added Monday morning from her home here.

Jackson opened play last Thursday afternoon with an 8-6 loss to Peggy Taylor (Kenora). But then she reeled off four-straight victories to grab top honours.

She needed an extra end to nip Linda Buchanan (Port Arthur) 9-7 on Thursday night. Then after beating Houston, she downed Corrie Manahan (Balmertown) 10-7 on Friday afternoon and Jacqueline Ortlieb (Keewatin) 7-4 on Saturday morning.

Taylor ended up finishing third at 3-2, followed by Ortlieb (1-4) and Manahan (0-5).

Jackson said the addition of Tolen and Lindholm to her rink this year brought some youthful enthusiasm.

“Things are really working out well," she enthused. "They bring stamina and energy [to the team] and they’re good curlers.”

Jackson’s rink has played well en route to the provincials, and she hopes they can stay right in the thick of competition at Kenora, where nine other quality teams will be eager to move on to the Canadian championship.

“I don’t know what to expect. I’d like to finish in the top four, which is still very good, but who knows, if we curl well, anything can happen,” she noted.

In the meantime, they will continue to play once a week in their league while adding a few exhibition games along the way.

“We might even go up to Kenora and throw a few rocks, too, to get a feel of the ice,” Jackson said.

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